Loewig and Amorosi – tag team terminators

In December 9 and 10,2009,  Mark Amorosi, Guelph’s Human Resources Director participated in a course on Employment Termination organized by Federated Press and the University Health Network.

As a co-lecturer, Amorosi’s description in the course materials was: “His primary responsibilities are to provide vision and motivation to the city, to deliver Guelph’s commitment to staff to become a top employer in the community through excellence in HR and people practices.”

Mark! What happened?

Did you forget the course outlines?

Your lecture topic was: “Preparing for and conducting the dismissal meeting.”

Well, that worked well with the abrupt firing of Chief Financial Officer Margaret Neubauer.

You must have spent sleepless nights pondering how to terminate her with dignity, another topic discussed at the same workshop.

Maybe you missed that part. It was getting close to Christmas.

Well, we know now how NOT to fire someone. When you and lame duck Chief Administration Officer Hans Loewig, called the unknowing Neubauer out of the council chamber and fired her, gentlemen, that was not dignified. The Mercury reporter sniffed something was up and discovered the financial chief was not even allowed to return to the chamber to pick up her effects.

It was a modern day version of the role of the guillotine in the French Revolution. The beheading amounted to the same thing.

It was a public dismissal of a senior employee. There was no official explanation although Guelph Speaks has learned it was Neubauer’s alleged failure to provide leadership to her staff. UH? She has held the job for three years. Did it take the geniuses at the top that long to figure out she wasn’t up for the job?

At least she was on the job that is more than you can say for Loewig whose so-called unpaid leaves have become legend among city staffers.

We wish Margaret a successful wrongful dismissal lawsuit. Her firing had to be the most unprofessional and ham-handed execution since the dismissals of former CAO Larry Kotseff and David Kennedy.

Amorosi’s recent deflection of severance allowance payments to city staffers who left last year, was a failure to inform Council of the full extent of the settlements. His revised statement was more than $500,000 in excess of his original estimate.

The Neubauer case should be a wake-up call for Council and citizens that change is needed at the senior manager level.

With a search costing some $40,000 to replace Loewig, any experienced civic executive must think twice before entering the management disarray existing among the city staff.

Morale is low, staffers are afraid and resumes are either being circulated or at the ready. The lower-paid staff is particularly vulnerable in the situation as opportunities to move to another employer are limited.

The question remains, how does Mark Amorosi, besides his portfolio as HR chief and is also responsible for legal services, keep his job?

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